State Schools Superintendent John Barge (R) is drawing scrutiny after his chief of staff Joel Thornton and two other state Department of Education officials took a trip to France, paying for it by taking money from a fund for international exchange students and teachers. Thronton left Barge's office on Monday to run his GOV campaign. Thornton "said the trip served as an opportunity to establish relationships with business officials in France and study how the French teach culinary arts." Barge, on the trip: "It helped bring more students and teachers, and ultimately administrators, from France for an exchange program and allowed some of our own students and teachers to visit France."
The story is "likely to be fodder" for Barge's opponents. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
COMMON CORE IS KEY ISSUE. Gov. Nathan Deal (R) "distanced himself from controversial Common Core educational guidelines last month," and now Barge is expressing "fresh doubts" as well. Both were critical of Common Core in their 2010 campaigns, but supported it after they were elected. Barge, in a statement on Thursday, said that "he wishes Georgia would have followed Virginia's lead and stuck with its current performance standards rather than adopting Common Core's guidelines." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
-- Sarah Mimms